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Program & Facility Information

Place-based nature education in Billings

Welcome to our program information page! Our programs are divided into four categories: Community, Out-School, Fledglings Nature Preschool, and School Programs. Look for these headings as you scroll through the menu. To see a calendar view, go here.


Community Programs

Open House

Come explore and enjoy the great outdoors! Ask a naturalist your burning questions, borrow a nature knapsack or field equipment, or rent a canoe to enjoy the ponds! Canoe rental free for members or $10/hr. Other activities free for all.

June, July, and August: Saturdays 9am – 2pm and Wednesdays 4pm – 7pm.

September through Mary: 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 11am – 3pm


Saturday Bird Strolls

Enjoy a cool walk by the river and learn a few birds along the way. Great for beginning birders. Binoculars and guidebooks available to check out. Families welcome! $10/person, $5/students and children, members free.

April through September: every 2nd and 4th Saturday, 7am – 8:30am.

October through March: every 2nd Saturday, 8:30 – 10am.


Weekend Wonders Family Programs

These naturalist-led programs are designed for all ages of explorers. Every month features a different topic that will get you and your family outdoors, learning about the plants and animals in our big backyard. Monthly themes are posted on our website (see calendar). $5/person, members free.

May 2018 – August 2018: 3rd Sunday of the month, 3pm – 4:30pm

Starting in Sept 2018: 3rd Saturday of the month, 3pm – 4:30pm


Coffee Walk with a Naturalist

Join us for a cup of coffee and a nature ramble. These easy to moderate walks focus on observing and learning about the natural world. Designed for adults and older children. Different month-to-month theme (see calendar). $10/person, $5/students, members free


Nature Nuts

Nature exploration comes naturally, especially for little kids! Children aged 1 to 4 (and an accompanying adult) join Montana Audubon teacher naturalists for guided outdoor play and learning about the local area. No registration required. $6/child or free for members. Different theme each week (check calendar).

June, July, and August: Every Tuesday and Friday from 10 – 11am.

Sept – May: Every Tuesday from 10 – 11am.


Special Events: Winter 2018

Looking for a great event you heard about at the Center? Read about it here! All special events require pre-registration (look for the links on the calendar)

Kids Night Out: Art Workshop: Friday Dec 14 from 6:30 – 8:30pm

Parents – take the night off while your children join artist Dawn Nelson to learn a few basic drawing skills. We’ll practice capturing shape, proportions, and light and shadows in a unique winter-themed drawing. Students will have the opportunity to turn their work of art into a holiday gift with a hand-made nature-inspired frame. For children in 2nd – 5th grades. Course fee of $30/child ($27 for Center members) includes all materials

Extended care is available for an additional $6/child. This fee includes care before class (6 – 6:30pm) and after class (8:30 – 9pm). Registration here.

 

Full Moon Night Hike: Friday January 18 from 7 – 8:30pm

Discover the world outdoors at night. Over cocoa and tea, we’ll talk about nocturnal animals and their special adaptations for life in the dark. Then we’ll go for a hike in search of these denizens of the night.  If we are lucky, the full moon will reflect off a blanket of snow to bring the night landscape alive. Bring warm layers, a flashlight and good walking shoes. $5/person or free for members. Advance registration is preferred here.

 

Bat House Building Workshop: Saturday January 26 from 2 – 4pm

If you’ve ever been on one of our summer Bat Night Hikes, you know that we have clouds of bats hanging around our ponds. This spring, we plan to install a few bat houses on our property to improve their habitat options. Come get handy with us as we build bat houses for both the Montana Audubon Center property and for homeowners that want to exclude bats from their attics. All materials will be provided. Please bring a power screwdriver if you have one. Workshop provided in partnership with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Montana Wildlife Federation.

Free! Registration required here.

 

Sip & Sketch: Saturday Feb 2 from 4 – 6pm

Artist Dawn Nelson will be teaching the basics of drawing using the Center’s collection of skulls and bones. Dawn will provide an introductory framework for the process and assist with tips and tricks throughout the evening. Come sip some wine, start your artist sketchbook, and create wonderful drawings. All levels welcome! Course fee $30 per session ($27 for Center members).  Cost includes 2 glasses of wine. Participants should bring their own supplies (a journal, graphite pencils, watercolor pencils, brushes, erasers, and pencil sharpener).

Dawn is a fine artist, a certified science illustrator, and an Audubon Center Teacher-Naturalist.

 

Owl Prowl: Saturday February 23 from 7 – 8:30pm

Come learn all about owls and the amazing adaptations that allow them to be skilled hunters and dwellers of the night. We’ll talk about the different species of owls that live in the area, and then we’ll head out for a night hike to look and listen for them. Come prepared to hike in near darkness on uneven ground: wear sturdy walking shoes and bring a flashlight.

$5/person or free for members. Advance registration is preferred at this link.


Montana Master Naturalist

The focus of the Montana Master Naturalist Program is to increase natural history knowledge and promote awareness, understanding, and stewardship of Montana’s natural environment by developing a corps of well-informed citizens dedicated to conservation education and service within their communities. The core of this program is the Montana Master Naturalist Certification Course, which is approximately 40 hours of classroom and field time and offered in a variety of formats and schedules. The Montana Audubon Center is the Billings home for this program and works with the Montana Natural History Center in Missoula to offer state-wide certification.

We are looking forward to our third time offering this class in Spring of 2019. More details to come!


Birthday Parties

Looking for a unique birthday party program? Make it a fun and educational adventure at the Montana Audubon Center. We offer parties for children ages 2 and up. All of our programs are hands-on, and encourage inquiry-based learning and fun. Click here for more information.


Out-School Programs

After School Adventures in Nature (Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:30).

After school is the perfect time to get outside. At the Audubon Center, kids can climb trees, catch bugs, look for animal tracks, build forts, and learn about the natural world, all with the guidance of our experienced teacher-naturalists. Each session includes plenty of play time and a good dash of learning about nature. Ages K-6. 10% member discount. Winter and Spring session registration here.

Fall Session: September 5th through December 19th (13 weeks). $130/child.

Winter Session: January 9th – March 27th (12 weeks). $125/child.

Spring Session: April 3rd – May 29th (9 weeks). $95/child.

Winter/Spring Discount: Register for both sessions (21 weeks total) and save $15 off the total.


Discovery Day Camps

When kids are out of school during the workweek, send them to the Audubon Center! All-day day camps provide plenty of fun and learning in an outdoor environment. Ages K-6, $60/camper. Back-to-back camp days (Th-F or F-M) are themed together but do not require students to register for both/all days. Registration here.

October 18-19 (Th-F): Watershed Wonders

January 14 (Monday): Winter Wonderland

February 8 and 11 (F-M): Survival Camp

April 8 (Monday): Mad Science

April 18, 19, and 22 (Th-F-M): Fishing and Fort Building

May 3 (Friday): Avian Antics

 

Holiday Discovery Day Camp: December 27-28

The Montana Audubon Center is excited to offer a special holiday season Discovery Day Camp: Winter Survival. This camp will be held on Thursday, December 27th, and Friday, December 28th from 7:45am – 4pm, providing plenty of fun and learning in an outdoor environment. Camps are for children in K-6 grades, and the fee is $75/camper. Back-to-back camp days (Th-F) are themed together but do not require students to register for both days. This camp will be capped at 12 children on a first come, first serve basis. You will receive a confirmation email regarding your registration. 10% discount for members.

We will focus on how animals and humans survive during the winter with plenty of outdoor play time. Activities include: animal tracking, observing and exploring pelts/skulls, fort building, and hopefully a lot of sledding. Register here.


Homeschool Science

Inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, student-centered science and nature exploration. Separate programs available for ages 6-12 and ages 13-16. Click here for current schedule. With program questions, please contact Hannah at 294-5099 or [email protected]


LINKS (Leadership Institute for Nature, Kids, and Stewardship)

LINKS is a unique program that pairs elementary-age kids in community after-school programs with high-school volunteer mentors who have been trained in outdoor education, team-building, and mentorship skills. We accept applications from high school students to participate in either our fall or spring sessions. Check here for the application link.


2018 Summer Camp

Camp descriptions and registration links here


Fledglings Nature Preschool

One of the first nature preschools in Montana and the first in the Billings area, Fledglings Nature Preschool is founded on the idea that kids learn best through play and hands-on experiences. Students spend at least 80% of their time outdoors, guided in exploration and learning by our skilled team of teacher naturalists.

Click here to learn more and to register


School Programs

Field Trips to the Center

Our school field trip programs are grounded in interdisciplinary outdoor science, connected directly to academic standards and best practices. Each program is custom-built to the age, grade, and subject area of the visiting classroom, and is taught by our experienced team of teacher-naturalists. And they are a lot of fun! We offer field trips to the Center and select off-site locations year-round.

For information on pricing and schedule availability, please contact Alina Garner, schools program lead: 294-5099, [email protected]


Audubon Naturalists in the Schools (ANTS)

As our largest and longest-running program, ANTS provides year-long, field-trip-based programming to elementary school students in Billings and the surrounding area. In the 2017-2018 school year, we worked with nearly 80 individual ANTS classrooms in Billings and the surrounding area. Grade-specific and standards-aligned, ANTS is an interdisciplinary science and Indian Education for All program, combining content and pedagogical approach in a way that is responsive to land and culture. Most of our ANTS classrooms are 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade. The program has been featured at a number of professional conferences in Montana and the region as a model of connecting classrooms with nature.

For inquiries about the ANTS program, please contact Carolyn Sevier, [email protected] or Alina Garner, [email protected].

 

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